A woman takes a drive to a log cabin that she has rented to spend a weekend in the wilderness along with her partner. After arriving, they’re amazed to see an unidentified couple living in the space. It appears that the place is booked double. After a minor exchange and no coverage of the internet in the area that is secluded and the couple decide to share their accommodation over the course of the night. In the morning the woman awakes to find that the cabin is abandoned. She wanders off into the woods nearby to search for her lover and is thrown into the midst of a mystery waiting to be solved.
Winona Ryder’s first film in almost four years promises a plethora of excitement, with its climax occurring within just 10 minutes of its premiere, which leaves room for intriguing possibilities to move forward the suspense-filled drama. Directors Eli Horowitz and his co-writer Matthew Derby choose to go forward with a jumble of ideas, changing the captivating cabin-in-the-woods mystery into a weak story about a missing individual and then completely sabotaging the plot with an element of a medical thriller towards the conclusion. The worst part is that the storyline is centered around a conflict about mid-life crises, which is too poorly conceived and executed to make an impression.
It’s the job of actress and comeback star Ryder to salvage the show through her performance as the lead character Kath as well as the film’s other most popular name Dermot Mulroney. They light up the screenplay and look dapper than ever. The two leads have only managed to get by so far, struggling in roles that don’t completely take into account their talents as actors. Although it’s advertised as a thriller with a mystery, the script does attempt to accommodate an occasional moment of chemistry between them. The two are a good match and can hold a narrative that is at risk of breaking each and every now and then.
Ryder’s Kath is a professor from the university who is searching for her missing boyfriend and the smaller Max (John Gallagher, Jr.) In the majority part of the story. The plan she has for action could appear to be a bit arbitrary, as instead of going to the police station, she decides to find Greta (Brianne Tju) who is the other woman in the cabin the night before, by herself. Kath is convinced that tracking Greta could help her find Max. She is motivated by the assertion of Greta’s partner Al (Owen Teague) who believes that Max had gone missing with her. As the story unfolds, Kath’s search to unravel the truth behind Max’s disappearance Mulroney is a rich and elegant Nicholas Barlow walks into her life. He becomes a friend and she becomes more enthralled with her. Without divulging spoilers, the Max-Kath and Kath-Barlow relationship could have been rearranged into a fascinating triangle particularly since the trio ends with three major elements of the suspense story.
If the story begins to lose momentum the moment the film begins to move it will be obvious why in time. Director Horowitz and screenwriter Derby attempt to complicate the plot in an effort to increase the mystery factor, through a mix-up of the timeline and advancing the suspense by introducing random uses of flashbacks. The idea of introducing these backstories each time the script is required to present an unexpected twist or plan of action might have been fascinating. The problem is that the screenwriters do not appear coherent when they play on the timeline. The plan to tease the audience is unsuccessful and the narrative is chaotic. This is because even a short duration of 90 minutes looks stretched.
Director Horowitz’s main focus when making the film’s thriller factor is to hand out red herrings, and never even if his efforts lack conviction. The notion that there’s some shady motive that is behind the disappearance of Max who, by any yardstick appears to be a normal guy could have been used to add a slow-burn effect to the story. Instead of watching Kath and Barlow are seated in a car, examining their looks in sunglasses as they contemplate the reasons and the whys of their lives it’s a great thriller that is wasted. The biggest flaw of Horowitz’s film is his inability to provide the film with a certain mood. In a sloppy way, the film moves through time cycles, Gone In The Night is a blurring into a chaotic mass of confusion and is far from reaching the heights that a suspense thriller must achieve to attract its audience’s complete attention. Horowitz’s technical team offers mixed praise. While the cinematography (David Bolen) recalls traditional genre fare with its gloomy and subdued tones, the editing of Arndt-Wulf Peemoller seems sluggish for a mainstream thriller. A standard soundtrack (David Baldwin) isn’t much to enhance the action.
Ryder’s post-Stranger Things appearance and Mulroney’s grit provide the film with a dazzling boost, the most valuable supporting performances are also provided by Brianne Tju as well as John Gallagher Jr. Tju is particularly impressive, coming out with a lively performance in the role of Greta regardless of the plot is sucked into a sea of confusion. The film’s lack of strong writing is a disadvantage for each actor in the film.
Gone In The Night is an attempt to stand out from other thrillers in the genre of thrillers and is the most impressive thing that could be put into the movie. It’s the kind of film that captivates you initially however the excitement begins to fade when you put together everything that transpired. It is apparent that the film was not anything that you could be interested in, during the film’s duration of about 90 minutes. There’s a disturbing notion in the narrative however it doesn’t make an impact due to poor production. The film is intended to function as a jigsaw puzzle. However, the creators appear to have made a mistake when finding the correct pieces to put together the puzzle initially.
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